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Thread: Hardwood flooring over particle board subfloor?

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    When pulling up particleboard underlayment, it's easier to take it up intact. Here's my method. I walk around on knee pads, with a cat's paw nail puller, I drive it under the head of a nail with one blow of the hammer, a helper pushes the puller with his foot, leaving the nail head above the floor. When I get tired of being on my knees, using long wrecking bars, so we don't have to bend over, we go around, and pull the nails all the way out, dropping them on the floor. Once all the nails are out, a magnetic sweeper picks them all up, and drops them in a tossable container (junk cardboard box).

    With all of the nails out, a flat bar to start the first edge up, and then it all comes right up, to be carried out in the minimum number of pieces. It really goes along fairly quickly.

    The nail puller is pushed by a foot because it gets to be a tiring, odd motion for an arm with many repetition. Limit footsteps, and limit bending over.

    edited to add: My Pulling toolbox weighs about 65 pounds, and it doesn't hold the stuff that's longer than 28". For particleboard, the blue, sharp, pointy ended Vaughn pullers would be my first choice. You can find them in a number of sizes in Lowes. You want the smallest end, that will go down in the particleboard the easiest, and still have a big enough slot to hold the nail, under the head. The big, wide headed ones will be much harder to drive down into the particleboard.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 09-17-2019 at 9:32 PM.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Edmonton, Canada
    I think the chance of your cleats getting to joists is nearly zero (not enough depth). Removing the 3/4" PB which might be glued down will be a big pain, plus smoothing/cleaning it up afterwards.
    It was mentioned earlier but the "trend" is mostly towards engineered, which are installed with nail and glue (they call it glue-assisted). If your PB floor is secure (glued down and screwed) then going with engineered flooring and using glue as well might be a less risky option.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    New Brunswick, Canada
    C'mon Dan, you're a Creeker. Roll up the sleeves and tear up that trash. Pop the base boards off and cut the edges with the dremel saw if the particle board runs under the interior walls. Now this a good chance to rescrew the inital ply flooring for squeaks. Lay down the second layer of ply c/w construction adhesive. Don't spare the screws. Nothing like a little sweat equity. Wish I was there to give a hand.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    River Falls WI
    If you have particle board and a water just have soggier sawdust. I only use it in speakers and counter tops that are sealed. Dan

  5. #35
    Thanks for all the feedback, everyone - it is genuinely appreciated (especially the critical feedback!).

    I had decided to bite the bullet and remove the particle board, but then found the door frames are cut such that they'll be too short once the particle board is removed. So I'd either have to replace the door frames or buy ply to lay on top of the subfloor to make up for the height lost.

    Thinking back to maybe leaving the particle board, I did some experiments - nailing flooring scraps to plywood or the particle board, and attempting to pry them up. There is less nail holding strength in the particle board, but it still was far from easy to pry the pieces up...

    Going with engineered or floating isn't an option because I'm matching/continuing a solid nail-down flooring that the previous owners installed ~10 years ago.

    Looking closer at that already-installed flooring, I found that they installed it over particle board. It's ~10 years old, and doesn't have noticeable squeaking or problems.

    So, I don't like it, but given that I'm not deviating from the existing standard-of-workmanship, I'm going to add some screws to the particle board to tighten it up and nail to it.

    I don't mind working on old houses, but I hate how difficult it is to limit the scope of a project. I'd have gladly pulled the particle board up if the door frames weren't cut short, but if I replace the door frames, then I should upgrade them to nicer quality, and, you know, the trim has some dings, so might as well replace that while it's off, then the window trim should get changed to match, but while I have that off....etc...

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Okotoks AB
    Given the scope of work & the 'proof of concept' 10 YO installation, I'd leave the particle board too.

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